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    French Speakers Hilariously Discuss What French T-Shirts Actually Say

    "Americans will buy anything as long as it's written in French."

    by ,

    As any person shopping for women's clothing will tell you: T-shirts with French writing are every. where.

    Forever 21
    Forever 21
    Forever 21

    But have you ever wondered what actual French speakers think of these shirts?

    To get some perspective, we asked two native French-speaking BuzzFeed staffers — Marie, who is from France, and Amaury, who is from Belgium — what they think about some French T-shirts made for English-speaking people.

    They both had some very strong opinions.

    1. Le Arte Graphic Cami, Forever 21


    Shirt says: "Le Arte"

    Rough English translation: "The art"

    Marie: This is not even French. Putting "le" in front of a random foreign-sounding word doesn't make it French. It should be "L'art," I guess.

    Amaury: L’arte of not being able to write in French.

    2. Paris Graphic Tee, Forever 21


    Shirt says: "Paris / Ville de l'amour"

    Translation: "Paris / City of love"

    Marie: Paris is NOT the city of love. Paris is the city of pee-smelling subway stations.

    Amaury: "Ville de l’amour" and you put the most phallic symbol possible? Naughty, naughty.

    3. Reason Oversize Boyfriend T-Shirt With Parlez Vous Brunch Print, ASOS


    Shirt says: "Parlez vous brunçh?"

    Rough English translation: "Do you speak brunch?"

    Marie: Why the ç?

    Amaury: [That would make "brunch" sound like] brunsss.

    Marie: It makes no sense. They were probably disappointed the rest of the sentence didn't have weird accents, so they slipped one in there.

    Amaury: "Jess, add a thingy under the c. They’ll love it. So French."

    4. Cropped V-Neck T-Shirt in Texture With French Print, ASOS

    Shirt says: "Printemps/ete/automne/hiver"

    English Translation: "Spring/summer/fall/winter"

    Marie: Nothing wrong here.

    Amaury: YOU'RE KIDDING, RIGHT?! This tee is a joke! It's literally just a list of seasons!

    Marie: If people want to wear a list of seasons on their boobs, let them live.

    Amaury: Americans will buy anything as long as it’s written in French.

    Marie: Pretty much.

    Amaury: This is like buying a shirt that just says "cuisine (kitchen)/salon (living room)/salle de bain (bathroom)" on it.

    5. Love More Graphic Pocket Tee, Forever 21


    Shirt says: "Aimer plus, Haïr Moins. Merci."

    English translation: "To love more, to hate less. Thank you."

    Amaury: Is that the URL of your Tumblr?

    Marie: This is the anti-French sentence. Also, the merci doesn't work here. If you ask people to love more and hate less, then it should be "aimez plus, haïssez moins." But the literal translation of this shirt is "To love more, to hate less. Thank you."

    6. Je Ne Heathered Tee, Forever 21


    Shirt says: "Je ne t'aime pas bien"

    English translation: "I don't like you well"

    Marie: Also not French. I mean technically, I guess — I think they read somewhere that writing "pas" in front of something would turn the sentence negative.

    Amaury: Great breakup T-shirt.

    Marie: Yeah. Offer that to your French girlfriend, you'll insult her and her language too.

    Amaury: If your girlfriend shows up in this one morning, time to pack up, buddy.

    7. Dreamer Slub Knit Top, Forever 21


    Shirt says: "Je suis un rêveur."

    Rough English Translation: "I am a dreamer"

    Marie: So apparently this girl is a boy? Which is fine, but I'm not sure that's what Forever 21 intended. They didn't bother to check the gender of the word. Un should be une. Rêveur should be rêveuse.

    Amaury: [Also], the message is terrible. Je suis une rêveuse kinda means you can’t get your shit together.

    8. Chouchou Graphic Tee, Forever 21


    Shirt says: "Chouchou de la semaine"

    Rough English translation: "Favorite of the week"

    Marie: I like the word chouchou, so I'm fine with this one.

    Amaury: I used to call lady’s part a chouchou... OK, I still do.

    Marie: I'm so traumatized by what you just said that I can barely type.

    9. Sundry Sweatshirt — Ma Maison C'est La Plage, Bloomingdales


    Shirt says: "Ma maison c'est la plage"

    English Translation: "My house is the beach"

    Amaury: Girl, find a real home if that's true!

    Marie: France has a pretty good social system. You don't have to live on the beach.

    Amaury: It's like those shirts that say: “Je ne bois que du champagne.” ("I only drink champagne.") No, you don’t.

    10. French Graphic Longline T


    Shirt says: "84 Avenue des Champs Elysees/Paris, France"

    English translation: "84 Champs Elysees Avenue/Paris, France"

    Marie: Haha, the only French street Americans know.

    Amaury: Also… address unknown.

    Marie: I'm looking it up, it exists.

    (It's the address of an apartment. It is not even the address of a store.)

    Amaury: Rent your flat? Advertise it on your girlfriend!

    11. Slub Knit La Musique Top, Forever 21


    Shirt says: "L'amour, la musique et un fashion"

    Rough English Translation: "The love, the music, and 'a fashion'" (which is not the French word for fashion)

    Marie: What is that even supposed to mean? Un fashion is not a thing.

    Amaury: I first thought it read:


    Le Mexique


    la France"

    Marie: I honestly don't even know what they tried to do with the "un fashion". ["Fashion" in French is] la mode. But some smug weirdos do use "fashion" -- But you'd say "c'est fashion", like it's fashionable. Un fashion literally makes no sense whatsoever.

    12. Paris Metallic Tank Top, Forever 21


    Shirt says: "Get your foot in the J'adore Paris"

    Rough English translation: "Get your foot in the I adore Paris"

    Marie: AMERICANS MUST STOP USING J'ADORE EVERYWHERE. It's like there's been one perfume called J'adore, and it's one of the only words they can actually pronounce. And now it's everywhere.

    Amaury: : is confused:

    Marie: LOL, I think it's a pun on [get your foot in the] door, Amaury.

    Amaury: I barely speak English.

    13. Adore Le Rose Tee, Forever 21


    Shirt says: "J'adore le rose"

    Rough English Translation: "I love pink"

    Marie: "Le rose" is the color, "la rose" is the flower. [This shirt] is unclear.

    Amaury: So unclear.

    Marie: The sentence refers to the color. But I think they thought it referred to both the color and the flower, because they're both "rose." French is a complex language.

    14. Obey Ruine Cropped Top, Urban Outfitters


    Shirt says: "Le rue de la ruine"

    English Translation: "Ruin Street"

    Amaury: Tell me she’s not talking about her chouchou!

    Marie: Not sure they were aware of the double meaning. It [doesn't actually directly translate] to "the road to ruin" — it [translates to] "Ruin Street." But [even that sounds like] the street of the struggle, which I like.

    Amaury: Too subtle for me.

    Marie: Like most things, Amaury.

    Amaury: HR!!!

    Marie: Amaury is Belgian, Kristin.

    15. Semis Erudie Tank Top, Urban Outfitters


    Shirt says: "Le Filles du Calvaire"

    Rough English Translation: "Daughters of Calvary"

    Marie: OH MY GOD, that was [the name of my street] in Paris -- Rue des Filles du Calvaire! I want that shirt. So far, it pains me to say, but pretty good job by Urban Outfitters.

    Amaury: You gotta stay professional! You can’t let emotions get you!

    Marie: I mean, they don't take risks, they keep to street names. But it's cool.

    16. Jersey Top With Printed Design, H&M


    Shirt says: "Jeune et belle"

    English Translation: "Young and beautiful"

    Amaury: So progressive.

    Marie: This literally means "young and beautiful." Like, OK... Would you wear this in English on a shirt?

    Amaury: This tee just looks like an ad for a woman, what with the "delivering fashion since 1975."

    17. Th Gallery T-Shirt With La Vie En Belle Print, ASOS


    Shirt says: "La vie est belle"

    English Translation: "Life is beautiful"

    Amaury: Strong words here.

    Marie: So the T-shirt says "La vie est belle but the caption says it's "La vie en belle."

    Marie: "La vie est belle" is the most cliché French sentence after "voulez-vous choucher avec moi?" It's just so tired. And lame. And tired. Life is all right at best. I mean it can be beautiful, but if you need a T-shirt to get a reminder then it's sad.

    Kristin: That was a very French thing to say.

    Shirt says: "Très Chère"

    English Translation: "Very Dear"

    Amaury: [This means] "Dear," or "Very dear."

    Marie Yeah, it's the type of thing an old posh woman from the west of Paris would say to her lady friends when they're talking about their upcoming bridge game.

    Amaury: The 20th century called. People start their messages with “Where are you?!” now.

    19. Purple French Print T-Shirt, River Island


    Shirt says: "Les joies de l'été"

    English Translation: "The joys of summer"

    Amaury: [This is like if someone made an] app that let you print your photo album titles on your T-shirts.

    Marie: Ugly T-shirt, but summer is pretty cool. And it's correct grammatically at least. That's become my only criteria, tbh.

    20. White Stripe French Print Fitted T-Shirt, River Island


    Shirt says: "le jour et la nuit"

    English translation: "the day and the night"

    Marie: OK, stop it with the stripes. I do wear stripes, but it's not a French thing, per se.

    Kristin: I think we just kind of assume all French people love horizontal black and white stripes.

    Marie: And then is the rain supposed to represent the night?

    Amaury: Also, sun and rainy cloud on boobs? Sure. But that’s the dude talking.

    21. The French Tee, Ktag NYC


    Shirt says: "Va te faire foutre"

    English translation: "Go fuck yourself"

    Marie: That's the French spirit.

    Amaury: Wear that on Champs-Elysée and try to count the eye-rolls.

    Marie: Yeah, only a huge douche would wear that, [but] I think I was tired of all the cheesiness, and it made for a nice change. And it's a real sentence! But it's very douchey.

    Did you guys have any final thoughts on the wonderful world of French T-shirts for English-speaking people?

    Amaury: If you are gonna wear a T-shirt with a message all day, make sure you understand what it says first.

    Marie: And French people judge you.

    Amaury: Totally.

    Marie: If you want to look cool in France, embrace your American coolness.

    Amaury: Paris people look at NYC with the same eyes [that] U.S. people look at Paris with. Grass is always greener...

    Kristin: The subways are always more covered in pee on the other side, am I right?

    Amaury: Well, the Paris subway network is basically a 100-mile-long underground place covered with white tiles. Sometimes, people might mix it up with a different place.

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